SOAS University of London

SOAS China Institute

How Sustainable is the Chinese Model?

Is the Chinese Model Sustainable Image

Date: 26 April 2018Time: 6:00 PM

Finishes: 26 April 2018Time: 8:30 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Annual Lecture


China possesses the second largest economy in the world – a key source of global economic growth – and a political system that offer an alternative to democracy. Its future trajectory will have direct and profound implications for the prosperity, stability, individual rights and direction of development throughout the world.  Although recent years have seen China entering a ‘new normal’ of a slowing economy, its success in securing growth of nearly 10% per annum for over the previous three decades is a record unmatched by any country in human history.  This success has often been attributed to the stewardship and strength of the political system, at the heart of which stands the Chinese Communist Party.  But China is also facing enormous challenges that threaten to derail it from this buoyant trajectory.  These include the rapid rise in debt, extreme environmental degradation, severe inequality in income and wealth, the risk of social instability, and the urgent demands of rebalancing the economy at a time when the demographic dividend that had propelled growth is turning into demographic deficit. They all raise fundamental questions about the sustainability of the Chinese Model. 

Given the central importance of the Communist Party to the management of the economy and direction of development in China, the question of sustainability is as much about politics as it is about economics.  This debate seeks to explore the basis of China’s success in the last four decades, and to examine the link between its ‘economic miracle’ and the political system.  The panellists will engage with the subject from a range of perspectives in an attempt to assess the likely trajectory of China’s development in the coming decade and beyond. 


  • Moderator: Graham Hutchings (Oxford Analytica)
  • Jane Duckett (University of Glasgow)
  • Nicholas Lardy (Peterson Institute for International Economics)
  • Minxin Pei (Claremont McKenna College, USA)
  • Yinhong Shi (Renmin University of China)

Speaker Biographies


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How Sustainable is the Chinese Model?


6pm-7:15pm: Panel debate and questions
7:15pm-8:30pm: Drinks reception 

Organiser: SOAS China Institute

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Contact Tel: +44(0)20 7898 4823